A HARD Brexit will lead to cross-border businesses struggling to survive, leading business consultant Peter Quinn has warned.
The former GAA President was speaking ahead of a Brexit Briefing in Lisnaskea next week. Mr Quinn, a board member of Cavan-based Lakeland Dairies Co-op Society Ltd will be one of the keynote speakers at the event.
He says he could never have envisaged the result of last June’s EU Referendum and is fearful that the North’s high dependence on the EU for exports will not be recognised in any negotiations, which he says will be centred on London.
Mr Quinn is echoing warnings that Brexit will not be good news for the UK economy, especially for the farming sector and will lead to quite high levels of inflation.
“If history has taught us anything it’s that reducing the value of a currency has significant long-term negative effects on an economy but also far more on society.
“Brexit will be particularly damaging to the agricultural sector. Those farmers who were persuaded by some of the farming organisations to vote leave were misled because all the evidence suggests that agriculture will face a particularly difficult time.
“The Single Farm Payment clearly can’t continue and won’t be replaced with anything like the same level [of support] and for farmers in the North that’s where their profits have mainly come from over the last couple of years.”
Mr Quinn has warned that a hard Brexit will be “even more damaging” to the region than a softer option resulting in very serious implications for cross-border trade.
“The border areas of the Republic will also face a difficult time because some of the commercial trade that they should normally be getting will be lost. Businesses will have no choice but to hang in there but whether they can survive in the medium term is a different issue.
“I have seen significant effects on standards of living as a result of devaluation and people don’t seem to recognise that against the euro and the dollar, sterling has already fallen by 18%.
“That’s higher than two of the last three devaluations that sterling has had over the last 70 years.
“People of my generation remember the negative effects and how difficult life was and I believe that we are in for a repeat of that.”
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